October 18, 2012
Let the legendary Playin' Grow
The Philly Civic is no longer standing. Our fellow, younger, "post" heads will live to see most of the venues demolished, just like this one, which was razed in 2007. Venues could be scubby places but we spent so much of our lives centered around them as to make them a part of the legend; if only because this is where civilization has created musician space. It was always cool to walk out of a Dead show and either be in a natural setting or right downtown (it was the dusty racetracks, fields, and suburbs that sucked).
Much of this show was used for Dick's #31 though it was kind of an odd pick for Aug 74/Wall of Sound stuff (not the worst of the tour but not the greatest). Nonetheless, the show is known for the epic Playin' and the unique Weather Report>Let it Grow but there are a few other gems as well.
Bertha starts the First Set in its funky-'74 version and the Wall of Sound atmosphere is immediately distinguishable. In Mexicali Jer has a col, weird tone and goes nuts, though not quite hitting the marks. Scarlet is fast but stiff; weird that this was once an early 1st-setter. BTW is likewise stiff until the end when the band suddenly loosens, along with the sound becoming dialed but it's not until Jack Straw that the machine lifts off the ground - and what a Jack it is. On El Paso, Jer again goes hyper which seems to really prod Phil. One of the best of the year & the same is true for Row Jimmy. It has a much better pace than it had in the skag years and Jer's angle on this was way cool in '74. Last is the legendary Playin'. After what would have been the likely end of the set comes this 26-minute version with one of the absolute best-ever Playins-with-a-big-jam; it's up there with 6/29/76 and a few others, but if it's a lonnnggg Playin' yr after, you want this one (marred only by a very short Donnascreech). '72 was a great Playin' year and there was even a reprisal of goodness in '94 but this one is the motherfucker. It was an odd choice, however, to lead DP31.
The 2nd Set is oddly stop/start, kind of like Veneta (OK, not that bad). Ship of Fools has some great Keith (and is an unusual set opener). Big River flies and Loose Lucy isn't bad. Mars Hotel had just been released (albeit not easy to to find) but Lucy had of course been in the lineup for a year and a half, though not usually in this position. Same is true for Me & My Uncle but this is the tightest of the set. Weather Report Suite starts the other section the show is known for, giving little indication of what's to come because it slowly gets better, building and building. The middle jam of Let it Grow is one of the best of '74. The end jam of Wharf Rat is pretty good and more than you usually get from the rote Wharf but the show goes off a precipice from there (ahem, somebody partied a bit hard before the encores).
Not a top 10 from '74 (example, 9/11 Ally Paly) but not bottom 10 either. Once you get up to the Lemieux selected Dick's/Dave's Picks the choices generally improve but the best of this show wasn't necessarily used.
1st Set: B-
2nd Set: C
Overall: 3 Stars
Playing in the Band
Me & My Uncle
Weather Report Suite (Let it Grow)
SOURCES: A great Jerry Moore AUD. There's also a great HunterS matrix and a SBD that trade around to fill the gaps missing from Dick's Picks.
June 12, 2011
Another awesome summer '74 show
Yes, I'm starting to revise my opinion of '74 shows. The boys sound tight as a drum and fluid as a river. Funny to think I had just turned 5! By the way, of the 2 AUDs available, this one is the clearest & sharpest, which is what I tend to like. The other sounds kinda muffled. Enjoy!
August 4, 2008
Nice Bouncy Bertha
Love the Bertha opener, this is a good solid show and real good AUD recording. Black Throated Wind, Peggy-O, Row Jimmy and a real nice Eyes. Worth the DL In my opinion.